MANILA, Philippines – After 4 years, the Philippines booked a return trip to the semifinals of the 2018 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup.
The Azklas settled for a 0-0 draw against Indonesia on Sunday, November 25, at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Regardless of result, though, the Azkals advanced as defending champion Thailand eliminated Singapore from last-four contention with a 3-0 shutout.
The Philippines wound up second behind Thailand to set up a semis clash with Group A winner Vietnam on Sunday, December 2.
"Well it’s not easy to play them (Indonesia)," said Azkals head coach Sven-Göran Eriksson. "I think we did okay, if we won it would’ve been brilliant. Of course we wanted to win, but Thailand had too many goals, but we haven’t lost one game."
The Azkals had a string of cardiac chances starting in the 59th minute when a Michael Falkesgaard save kickstarted the offensive buildup from the back. And that led to Manny Ott going one-on-one with the Indonesian keeper Andritany Ardhiyasa, but the goalie managed to deflect the Filipino-German's shot.
Sato threatened the keeper again with a powerful shot on-target from way beyond the box, but the keeper managed to punch it out on time.
In the following sequence, Ott took a corner but was headed out by the Indonesia defense. Stephan Schrock also managed to capitalize on a counterattack, but no one was able to finish his cross.
In the 87th minute, Curt Dizon won a free kick which saw Ott take the set-piece play, but the goalie managed to make the crucial save.
In the first half, Phil Younghusband sustained a cut after a collision in the 23rd minute that had the Azkals down to 10 men on the pitch. Dizon managed to come in as a substitute 3 minutes later as the team captain was rushed to a nearby hospital for a check-up.
Ott attempted to score at death with a shot from the center of the box but goalie Andritany Ardihiyasa came up for the big save. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.